A string trimmer is an incredibly efficient lawn tool that is especially popular thanks to its versatility and light weight. Available in both gas and electric-powered string trimmers, the best string trimmers can trim and edge along sidewalks, fences, driveways, and garden beds. But before you go out into your yard with your new tool and get to work, you need to know how to safely start it. Electric models are the easiest to start since the motor can be turned on as soon as power is supplied to the unit.
These trimmers can be corded, requiring a power cord to be plugged into an electric outlet, or cordless, which run on a rechargeable battery. Once the unit is plugged in or a charged battery is installed, you simply press the start button or switch and the trimmer will operate. Gas string trimmers involve a few more steps to start. The first thing that you need to do is make sure that your tool’s fuel tank is full. There are two kinds of gas trimmer engines out there: 2-stroke and 4-stroke.
If you own a 2-stroke model, you need to prepare a 40:1 mix of unleaded gasoline to oil and use that to fill your fuel tank. 4-stroke engines are a bit easier to fill up since they can run on straight gasoline and allow you to simply pour straight 4-stroke oil into the oil reservoir. Once you’ve filled up the fuel tank, replace the cap and prime the engine by pressing the fuel bulb that you’ll find under the carburetor between 5-6 times.
With the engine primed with fuel, you can slide the handlebar-mounted “On/Off” switch to “On” and slide the choke lever under the fuel tank to “Full”. Press the “Throttle Lock” switch next to the engine “On/Stop” switch while squeezing the throttle trigger. You can then release the throttle lock switch. Then place the string trimmer on the ground so that it is resting on the head shield, this will ensure that the spinning head doesn’t have contact with the ground.
Hold your trimmer with one hand and use the other to pull the start cord quickly until it starts up. Once your string trimmer has warmed up for 15 seconds, slide the choke off and let your tool run for a minute or so to adequately warm up. Once warmed up, squeeze the throttle trigger once so that the throttle lock is disengaged. You are now set to use your trimmer.
How to Maintain Your String Trimmer?
String trimmers are great for keeping areas of your lawn that a mower can’t reach manicured and neat. But to do this, they need to perform well. Here are a few easy steps that you can take to keep your trimmer working its max. Whether you have an electric or gas string trimmer, you’ll need to replace the trimmer line whenever it runs out. It’s also advisable to replace it in the beginning of the season since line that is stored throughout the winter can become brittle.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific model to replace the trimmer line and, while you’re removing the trimmer head, clean your cutting shield and the area around the spinning trimmer head. Besides replacing the trimmer line, electric models don’t require much additional maintenance. Simply clean away dirt and debris and, if you have a battery-operated model, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper battery care.
If you own a gas-powered string trimmer, there are several areas that will need your attention. The first thing to do is ensure that you are using fresh gasoline that is stored in an airtight container. Depending on how often you use your trimmer, you will also need to perform an oil change on occasion.
Once a season, usually prior to putting your tool away for the winter, you’ll also need to drain the remaining fuel and oil from your tool. Once empty, clean your tool and replace the air filter. You should also use this time to clean and inspect the spark plug and, if necessary, replace it.
Gas vs Electric String Trimmers
Choosing between an electric or gas string trimmer comes down to the demands you expect to place on the tool. The most accurate way to decide which is most suited for you is to look at their advantages and disadvantages. Electric string trimmers are lighter and easier to start than gas-powered models. They also emit no fumes, are far quieter and require practically no maintenance. These tools come in two styles: corded and cordless. Cordless models run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and allow you to work without being bound to a wire.
They are slightly more expensive than corded models while also being slightly heavier. But if you have a medium lawn and don’t want to mess around with extension cords, they are a great choice. Corded models are powered by an electrical cord. They are the most affordable and lightweight options on the market. These tools are perfect for small properties but for larger areas, the fact that you will be tied to a power cord can be frustrating.
Gas string trimmers offer more power than electric models, making them the go-to choice for both professional landscapers and homeowners with large properties. The downside is that these models require more annual maintenance than electric models and also have a higher operational cost due to the need to fill up the gas tank. The other drawback to these gas-powered tools is that they are generally more expensive, heavier, and louder than their electric rivals.
The general rule of thumb is that if you own a small property, you can easily use a corded electric string trimmer but homeowners with medium or large yards that require light trimming can count on a cordless model to get the job done. If you are a professional or have a property where heavy trimming of thick weeds and grassy conditions will be encountered, a gas-powered trimmer might be the way to go.
Do String Trimmers Need Oil?
If you own an electric string trimmer, you don’t have to concern yourself with oil since these models are relatively maintenance-free. But if you opted for the power and performance of a gas model, you will have to add oil to your tool to ensure proper function and engine life. There are two styles of gas trimmer engines available: 2-stroke and 4-stroke. If you own a 2-stroke model, you will simply mix your oil with the unleaded gasoline that you use to fuel your tool.
This is usually done in a 40:1 gas-to-oil ratio. If you own a 4-stroke model, your trimmer will run on straight unleaded gasoline. But since no oil is being added to your fuel, you’ll need to add it separately to your tool’s oil reservoir. To do so, you’ll simply use the grade of oil recommended by your manufacturer and fill the oil tank up to the “Fill” line. Then simply check the level on occasion.